We are halfway through 2023 and VALORANT has changed a lot since 2022. Riot has continued to add new agents and maps, provide content updates, and provide players with buffs and nerfs in an attempt to keep the game feeling fresh and balanced.
Meanwhile, VALORANT has continued to grow into one of the most popular esports in the world, so we’ve started gathering even more statistics about pro players’ behaviour and choices during major tournaments to help us find out if the game is, indeed, still balanced.
What are the weapons worth buying in VALORANT?
VALORANT has a wide array of weapons for pros to grab during each buying phase, but some guns are definitely more prioritised than others.
The two standout rifles are the Vandal and Phantom, the game’s rifles. They aren’t cheap, but most teams make it their mission to save up for these impactful guns. But which one is worth splurging on?
According to Riot Games, that depends entirely on your play style and skills. If you prefer close-range combat, the Phantom is a great pick. It has a higher fire rate and can easily plough down multiple enemies within seconds. But the Vandal is better for accuracy — if you’re a sharp-shooter, you can take down agents with a single headshot.
When it comes to pro players, you’ll see them gravitate towards the Vandal. With such high precision and mechanical prowess, it’s no surprise they want to take advantage of the powerful headshot capabilities.
The least-picked weapons, according to our 2023 data, are the Ares and Bucky. The Ares is a medium-cost machine gun and the Bucky is a shotgun. Both were only picked around 70 times by pros this year, while the Vandal was picked up 197,277 times. This low pick rate is most likely due to players picking the Judge when it comes to shotguns.
How balanced are the VALORANT agents?
A meta is a team composition that is seen as the most impactful, due to the effectiveness of the agents and the play style they have together. Some agents are more viable than others for a variety of factors.
Right now, the most-picked agents in pro-VALORANT in spring are Killjoy, Jett, Sova, and Omen. Thanks to her oppressive turret abilities, Killjoy has been considered almost a must-pick since she was added to the game. She detects and disrupts the enemy’s movements and can singlehandedly hold down the Site without help.
Jett is for aggressive players that want to rack up kills with pin-point accuracy and unparalleled mobility. Sova is an intel-gathering machine that keeps his team ahead. And Omen is a trickster who can teleport and allude enemies.
With so much focus on fast-paced action, it’s no surprise that we see agents like Reyna, Gekko, and Yoru near the bottom. All three have below a 1% pick rate. Yoru’s teleportation is nowhere near as sneaky as Omen’s and his flashes are easy to avoid. Reyna has a very limited kit that are only useful during certain times and also only benefit her, not her teammates.
The truth is, the VALORANT agents will never be fully balanced. There are too many variables when it comes to all their vastly different abilities and how they work with one another and on certain maps and against certain agents. There will always be agents that are more impactful than others, although Riot has continued to tweak the agents in order to ensure that nobody is completely oppressive and can’t be countered.
It is worth noting that Killjoy got nerfed in patch 6.08, so other agents might see more play going forward.
The most deadly agent abilities
In VALORANT, abilities aren’t only for eliminating enemies. But it’s still interesting to see which abilities have been the most effective at taking down opponents.
The most deadly VALORANT ability in 2023 is Jett’s Blade Storm. This highly accurate knife throwing ability wipes out enemies as Jett expertly weaves throughout the map. It can be impossible to escape her unexpected positioning, especially against high-level players.
The second-most deadly is Killjoy’s Nanoswarm. This sticky and explosive grenade deals a good amount of damage. Pros know all the best lineups for the Nanoswarm as well, expertly predicting where it will do the most damage and disrupt enemy plans the most.
Sova isn’t only for gathering data. His Hunter’s Fury ability is the third-most effective when it comes to eliminating enemies. It pierces through terrain and has multiple charges, allowing mechanically skilled pros to really do damage.
Agent abilities – and how they impact the kill feed
Abilities in VALORANT are what really sets it apart from traditional FPS titles such as CS:GO or Call of Duty, although the latter has displayed some colourful touches recently.
CS:GO players enjoy purchasing Molotov cocktails, smokes, flashes and other supplies from the in-game store. VALORANT players can instead choose between agents giving them different abilities. These abilities mirror the supplies in the CS:GO store many times. Nevertheless, there are also a large set of abilities with functionality unique to VALORANT.
The win rate of different sides on VALORANT maps
Last year, we found out that VALORANT maps are pretty balanced, at least compared to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Most of the maps have almost a 50-50 split when it comes to which side wins: attackers or defenders. You’ll find a difference of only a few percents, meaning both sides have a similar chance of winning as long as they have the best strategy and skill-level.
Lotus is the least-balanced VALORANT map of 2023. Defenders won 46% of the time in major VALORANT tournaments, while attackers won 54% of the time. While this can appear troubling at first glance, it doesn’t matter much to teams, given they get to play on both sites in a match. Moreover, new maps tend to appear more uneven at the start but become more balanced as time passes and more matches get added to the statistics.
Is VALORANT a balanced game?
Overall, VALORANT is pretty balanced in many aspects. There is more than one viable team composition to choose from and even the best agents do have counter-picks that can take them down. It’s difficult due to the ever-expanding roster of vibrant agents with different abilities, but Riot Games has ensured that the game is pretty fair right now.
The weapons are not as balanced — you’ll notice some pretty favored weapons. But in general, you can thrive whether you’re fighting close-range or from a distance thanks to the power of the Vandal and Phantom. This means both play styles can shine with the right weapons and skills.
The maps themselves are also balanced, meaning you won’t be at a huge disadvantage if you are attacking or defending. This means players can focus more on strategy and skill rather than start the game at a disadvantage.
Who is Abios data for?
When creating a game website, odds modelling, covering a game in the news or creating a content platform, it is important to understand how a game works and its mechanics. With +10 years of historical data in the largest esports titles, we can see shifts in the overarching gameplay, as well as nuances you can only spot if you have large sets of data over time.
So whether you want to cover VALORANT for the latest news article, or build a VALORANT platform to track pro play, we can help you collect the right data for your needs.